Melanie’s Run Report

Alice Holt Run Report (the special one) #377

Alice Holt is a 2-lap multi-terrain course comprised of woodland trails and cycle paths. Its pretty undulating too and unless you are feeling 100% you are gonna struggle on the ups and when I mean ups I mean hilly. These are mainly in the second half and one ‘blaster’ just before the end which really sucked the energy outta me before the final finish shute. That having been said there are several affirmation boards like Pause & Learn to distract you on your way so you can ‘pause’ and really soak up the atmosphere and forestry after doing the lung busting downs and killer up hills.
As much as I enjoyed ‘the route’ it was definitely an “off day” for me as I unusually struggled to get round the course but was determined to do it nonetheless as it was a special one. For those with the 5k App may has noticed there is a Fibonacci Sequence of numbers which correspond to certain Parkrun Event ‘days’ and today was an important one as it was #377 which is the penultimate sequence on the Fibonacci Code! more info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibonacci_number
Finally we were advised that parking was £2:00 till 10:30 alas I wish more like £3:00 for 1 hour weekends but if you wanna spend a day and go for a walk after the run the price hike is quite considerable. But that's another story for another time. Alice Holt are a friendly bunch and they got the finish tokens down to a t. So my verdict 9/10 for course & volunteers I shall be back just can’t say when!
Melanie
 

Milestones, smile-stones, it’s-been-a-while-stones

Paul Sinton-Hewitt, the founder of parkrun, has said that, whenever he visits a parkrun, he looks for the t-shirts – for the milestone runners, walkers and volunteers who have earned their white, red, black, green, blue and mauve insignia.

And so, while parkrun briefings are kept short and there can be no milestone mentions, we thought it would be an idea to celebrate those who have reached such a point in the last four weeks. After all, you’ve probably been waiting a while to get there!

(I have included non-t-shirt milestones, as I think you all deserve it! And I hope that I have identified everyone, but huge apologies if I have missed you.)

On 24th July, Jackie Smith ran her 50th parkrun. Jackie has run 48 of her (now) 51 parkruns at Alice Holt.

On 31st July, Christopher Millard, Paul Naish and David Harvey all did their 50th, Andrew Danson ran his 200th, and Annette Davies ran her 250th. Christopher has completed 48 of his 50 at Alice Holt; Paul has done 49 of 50 here; David 34 of 51; Andrew 171 of his 203; and Annette, wife of occasional Run Director Dan (349 parkruns) and mother of Carys (202) and Oscar (246), has run 161 of her 252 at Alice Holt! Come on, guys, show a bit of commitment!!

Annette was on 249 for over 16 months!

On 7th August, Marlon Driver ran his 150th parkrun, running 45 of his 151 here.

And on 14th August, Daniel Clayton, who is a JM10, ran his 50th parkrun, 41 of those at Alice Holt, with a best time of 29:23. Great work, young man!

David Johnston ran his 100th parkrun that day with 93 coming at Alice Holt. Dave Dring ran his 150th, 131 of those here. Terry Steadman ran his 200th with 182 of those coming at Alice Holt.

Also on that day, Gabriella Till ran her 250th with 157 of those coming at Alice Holt. I have a little inside knowledge here, and so I can pay tribute to the dedication that she, like so many young parkrunners, has shown – foregoing a student’s traditional Saturday morning lie-in to schlepp across Bath to run – as well as performing the New Year’s Day Double for seven consecutive years!

And Nick Whishaw did his 300th run, with 236 of those coming here. A familiar figure at Alice Holt, Nick is known for his genial, urbane presence and, more disconcertingly, his whoops of delight when tackling Dragon Hill!

The dedication implicit in these achievements speaks for itself. Very well done, everyone!

 

parkrun – restarted, rethought, reclad, resonant

by Steve Till

When we crossed the finish line of Alice Holt parkrun on 14 th March 2020, little did we think that it would be 16 long months before we could do so again. The storm at 5 o’clock on Saturday morning even made some fear that our scheduled 24th July return might be delayed further, but the thunder and lightning turned out really to be God’s celebratory drumroll and strobe effects, to usher in the restart of parkrun in England.

Parking at 8:30, one wondered what it would be like – the same but different, and perhaps even a bit emotional. Well, unlike before, we were encouraged to remain socially distanced; the briefing was briefer than before; and there were expected finish times posted along the start area, so that participants could seed themselves sensibly and minimise bunching and overtaking.

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The volunteers did have very smart new pink hi-vis – that was different! And then, almost before any emotions could take hold, we were off – right on time.

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The course remained the same, with the forest still as green and welcoming as ever. Weaving through it in our kaleidoscope of t-shirts, we were indeed the prodigals in our amazing technicolour dream-coats, returning to the home parkrun we know and love. Soon after halfway, inevitably, was Dragon Hill. Disappointed that the Alice Holt parkrun Core Team had not taken the opportunity of the lockdown hiatus to lop a bit off the top, we were breathing fire long before then anyway.

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Our thighs singed and our hamstrings scorched by the beast, we stretched out down past the Gruffalo before finishing once more up the infamous last hill and throwing ourselves into the mercy of the funnel’s welcoming arms.

Finish tokens taken, we were scanned by phone app this time before wandering off in search of coffee, cake and further camaraderie. Catherine Timson was first finisher for the females, followed by Jennifer Cooper and Kate Larmer. The men were led home by Harry Boyd, Hamish MacLean and Sam Dring. Lockdown has had a multitude of effects on all of us – mentally, physically and emotionally – and it has been heartening to see politicians and sports leaders from time to time acknowledging the important part that parkrun plays in many lives – in all three of those vital dimensions.

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In its most simple terms, lockdown has led some people to exercise more and some less. And the results are plain to see – in the results! I cannot name every personal best, but a few that caught the eye were Colin Addison, Nicky Hill and Ben Dakin. It was Colin’s 244 th parkrun at Alice Holt, and he beat his PB today by 22 seconds. His previous one
was set in 2014!

Nicky has run at Alice Holt 131 times, and today took 46 seconds off her two-year-old personal best. And Ben, one of our younger runners, took a whisker shy of two minutes off his PB today, leaving him on the brink of breaking 20 minutes. Well done to everyone who set a personal best or participated for the first time today.

More than that, well done to everyone who finished, and an even bigger well done and thank you to our volunteers. The event simply could not go on every week without volunteers, so please do consider putting yourself forward for a role from time to time. It is great fun; it is super-friendly; and it makes you feel great. But, as we all know, parkrun is so much more than just a physical outing. It exercises bodies, yes, but it also offers a meeting of minds, a lifting of spirits and an aligning of hearts. We meet old friends; we make new ones; we cheer each other on; we smile; we chat; we connect.

That is why it is so important.

And that is why it is emotional.

A friend of mine got the 6am ferry over from the Isle of Wight, where she had recently moved from Alton, because she did not want to miss the Alice Holt restart – proudly wearing her 250 t-shirt for the first time, into the bargain!

Another friend who had buried her mother the week before, made sure she attended – to honour the memory and to put down a baseline for her own restarted fitness campaign.
People I had not seen since 14 th March 2020 smiled, waved and immediately struck up the warmest and most animated of conversations, as though the intervening 16 months had never happened.

And two ladies towards the back of the field jokingly called for the defibrillator as they finished. It was their first run, they said, and, wow, what about those hills, but they would be back. Those are the sort of reactions that parkrun inspires. In my humble opinion, there are very few events in human life were everything is positive, where there are only winners, and where everyone goes away enriched – enriched perhaps by a new personal best, maybe because they ran all of the way up Dragon Hill for the first time, or perhaps just because of a lovely coffee and chat afterwards, or maybe even because of something as simple as a kind word from a stranger as they passed on the trail.

Oh parkrun, for all of those positive reasons, and so many more, how we’ve missed you – and we’ll never take you for granted again!

 

Run Report 14.03.20 – Alice in Wonderland?

Saturday 14th March saw run number 364 at Alice Holt where 303 people walked, jogged or ran. There were 9 people running their very first parkrun today: James FABIAN, Tim VOLOSSEVICH, Adam JOHNSON, Richard PARRATT, Emma VALLER, Daniel VALLER, Kim WINGHAM, Caspar HARRIS & Rachel SMITH and another 44 who were running at Alice Holt for the first time. That included us (Alice and Nathan) who had travelled 200 miles from Crewe so Alice could run her Alice parkrun. It was totally worth it! After the shoutout during the runners’ briefing, I (Alice) felt like a celebrity with everyone saying, “Hi Alice!” and coming for a chat - totally what parkrun is all about. We thoroughly enjoyed hearing everyone’s stories of how they ended up at Alice Holt on that morning. Can you believe it? Some had actually travelled further than us. There were visitors from Lyme Park (Stockport), Delamere (another Forestry Commission with a Gruffalo just up the road from us in Crewe!) Bushy, Basingstoke, Tring and Chichester. There were also many more who are lucky enough to call Alice Holt their local. We were given plenty of recommendations of other great runs to do around the area.

 
As soon as we arrived, we were made to feel so welcome; the community spirit at this run is second to none and we have to say it is one of the most well organised and friendliest events we’ve attended! This is one of our all-time-favourite runs even though Dragon Hill nearly saw me off. Nathan managed to power himself up it. The downhill sections running through the beautiful forest made up for the hill and I felt like just throwing my arms out and embracing it, the sun was even shining. After all, this might have been our last parkrun for a while, although we really hope not! 
 
It was also a special day for Simon Millard who was celebrating his 50th birthday! He thanked Helen Walters as she first got him into parkruns and his friend Rachel who came along today for her very first parkrun. There were a few milestones being celebrated today. Congratulations to: Ellie BOUSFIELD on her 10th run as a junior, Gustav FICHARDT and Lindi CLAYTON who both joined the 50 club, Kevin WADE who ran his 150th parkrun and Carys DAVIES and Peter MALLETT who both ran their 200th parkrun! WOW. There were also 37 people who managed to secure a PB so well done to all of them.
 
In first place today was Chris BIRCH securing himself a PB too and completing in an impressive time of 18:14. The first female to cross the finish line was Lucy BOOTH (touring from Portsmouth Lakeside) finishing in 24:37. She also needs a special mention as she then kindly stepped in to do barcode scanning on her phone after finishing her run. Lucy was closely followed by Janet LEGGETT who secured the highest age grade this week of 77.62% and a PB of 24:39.
 
As always, parkruns could not go ahead without the incredible high-viz heroes who today were: Alice SMITH, Ben SHEPHERD, Ben SMITH, Chris BADHAM, Chris MANETTA, Craig TATE-GRIMES, Damian PROBETT, Dan DAVIES, Ewan MCLEOD, Geoff BROWN, Geraldine MCLEOD, Helen BRACEY, Justin CLARKE, Kathy BROWN, Kieron Jake CARPENTER, Libby MALLETT, Lucy BOOTH, Lucy TUITE, Mark BRAIN, Nathan KAPP, Patrick TUITE, Penny SCHNABEL, Philip MASTERS, Rachel ADAMS, Sam WICKHAM & Steven LUCKETT.
 
Once again, we had a fantastic time at Alice Holt. It’s a parkrun that we will never forget and if we’re ever back in the area, we will certainly return to run here again. Thank you!
 

 

 

Alice Holt parkrun 361

22 February 2020

It's a bit windy!

Setting off for Alice Holt parkrun (from Kings Langley near Watford), I already knew there was a possibility it may be cancelled due to the high winds, but I was hopeful, perhaps even a little optimistic that it would go ahead. Arriving at 8:15am, I wandered over to speak to the Run Director who confirmed that they PLANNED to go ahead, but that Forestry England could stop the event if they thought the winds would make things too dangerous.

Thankfully, the strongest winds were up near the entrance by the toilets. Once out on the course, we could barely tell that it was windy at all because we were so sheltered in the trees. The course itself is a lovely, undulating two laps through the forest on a variety of surfaces (quite similar to Wendover Woods for those of you who have run there), and all of the marshals were super-friendly and encouraging on the way round.

After the run, I had breakfast with Matthew HOUGHTON. He was the guy who brought some goodies along to celebrate his 50th Birthday. Matthew is also attempting to join the "Hoffman Club" by running his first 50 parkruns, all at different events. So far he's on 28 so is over half way there!

I'd like to say a big thank you to all of the volunteers for running such a great event and ensuring it went smoothly and safely:

Rachel ADAMS, Marco ADDISON, Paul ALLUM, Richard BLACKBURN, Peter CALLOW, Helen CARPENTER, Kieron Jake CARPENTER, Steve CARPENTER, Andy CLEGG, Jonathan COOPER, Dan DAVIES, Clive FROSTICK, Sally LAWRENCE, Annette LEE, Libby MALLETT, Clara MARCHANT, Roger MARCHANT, Philip MASTERS, Ewan MCLEOD, Angie MOULTON, Graham NOCKELS, David ROY, Richard SHEPPARD, Craig TATE-GRIMES, Linda TYLER

Some of you may have noticed me filming the course with a GoPro stuck to my forehead. I'll be uploading this to YouTube in the next couple of weeks, so please have a look out to see if you can see yourself. There will also be photos of the volunteers at the end of the video.

On to the stats....

This week we had 321 runners, joggers and walkers. There were 18 UNKNOWNSs (don't forget your barcode next week), 132 Females and 171 Males.

First 3 Males to finish were Steve MCGEOWN in a new PB of 19:13, Barnaby GRAY in 19:44 and Ian CARLEY in 20:06. First 3 Female finishers were Rose LEWIS in a new PB of 23:16, Natasha BENNETT in 24:08 and Linda TYLER in 24:23.

There were 49 parkrunners who were new to Alice Holt parkrun of whom 13 were doing their first ever parkrun, and an amazing 33 PB's. So well done to everyone and we hope to see you back next week.

The "most runniest runner" was Steve TILL on 480 parkruns but there were 19 other members of the 250 Club, 60 members of the 100 Club, 45 members of the 50 Club and 26 members of the 10 Club present. Official milestones achieved today were Barnaby GRAY who joined the 50 Club and Eleanor CORDLE who joined the 10 Club. Well done to you all!

Highest Age Grading on the day was Linda TYLER with 77.38%, with an astonishing time of 24:23 in the VM55-59 category!!

Well done to everyone who completed the course today, great stuff!!!!

Other news....

Have you heard about "Free Weekly Timed", the parkrun podcast with Vassos Alexander and Helen Williams? I thoroughly recommend listening to the new episode each week, or the back catalogue between parkrundays.

Mark Pinney

 

Alice Holt parkrun 359

1 February 2020

Firstly – a thank you and a confession. A huge thank you to Rachel ADAMS for providing the core information for this report; owing to a diary mix-up I wasn’t actually there/here this week. However, I have it on good authority that ‘it was a glorious run through the forest today - conditions were very good’. Which is a relief after the recent rain (again!) and apparently more due soon….

It’s exciting – and I’m sure gratifying - for our tireless ‘Core Team’ who make sure that Alice Holt parkrun runs, week after week, with the help of scores of lovely marshals and other volunteers – to see that the jump up to more than 400 runners, joggers, walkers (and their buggies and dogs) has been sustained following the crazy 756 of us on New Year’s Day.

Of our 411 runners this week – we had four people with milestones. Congratulations, respect and awe to Helen WALTERS who clocked up her 100 (or maybe it was 101?) – and all of that squared (or at least multiplied by 2.5) for the trio who joined the 250 Club (sounds quite simple when you just type it!) Helen CARPENTER, Vicky HAMBLIN and John WHITEHALL. Amazing stuff!

It was lovely that John and Vicky, both Chineham Park runners, chose Alice Holt for their big 2-5-0 – and that they brought lots of supporters from the club with them too. They crossed the line together in 38 minutes 21 seconds, and in fact five of the club’s 13-strong contingent joined them in a triumphant finish separated by just four seconds.

When someone has clocked up such a milestone it’s interesting to take a little look at their run history – not so much for their times (after all who know if they were pushing a buggy, encouraging a friend or perhaps nursing a hangover (perish the thought!)) - but to see where they have put in the miles. And how different were all of our milestone achievers this week. John is a Basingstoke regular – his first and only other time at Alice Holt was more than 18 months ago. As for Vicky – we’ve been privileged to see her five times – we share that honour with Newbury. Other than Basingstoke (63 runs), she’s been to no other single parkrun more than five times. Vicky has parkrun all over the place – 166 different places to be precise – that takes some planning! Helen CARPENTER, who ran her 250th in 35:41, crossed the line with family Steve, Isla and Phoebe (who also clocked a PB giving them another reason to celebrate!).   Helen is a Bushey Park regular (234), but has toured a little. This was her eighth visit to Alice Holt. Helen WALTERS (27:48) is an Alice Holt regular (96 runs here).

We salute you all – as we do absolutely everyone who turns up and gets going – whether that’s crossing the start and finish lines, setting out the course, marshalling the route, timekeeping or administering the funnel and finishing process – or bar code scanning, token sorting and packing the whole lot down again.

And whilst were on saluting….Matt SAKER was first male home and Helen RUTT first female (19:10 and 23:00 respectively) and just in case you were wondering – four of our 411 runners this week were called Helen!

Dylan CLARKE is definitely one to watch. He was the first junior male home (he is in the 11-14 category), in seventh place overall with a PB today of 20.32!Amelie FREWER was the first junior woman across the line (also in the 11-14 category) with time of 26:26. We should also keep an eye on Tommy RIPAMONTI in the boys 10 year old category. Tommy has only been parkrunning since the beginning of the year – but he’s been here every week and has three PB times from five runs, including an impressive 7:41 today!

Parkrun 359  BVS Lucy with Bailey and Natalie with OliverPArkrun 359 BVS Natalie, (with son Oliver), Fran, Mandy and Lucy (left to right)

But, as I mentioned above, it’s not all about the running, jogging or walking. Volunteering is an equally important way to take part in parkrun. And increasingly, parkrun participation in the widest sense is something you might hear doctors recommending (prescribing, almost), for people with a wider range of conditions – from high blood pressure and potential diabetes to low mood or self-esteem.

BENTLEY VILLAGE SURGERY is the latest local practice to ‘sign up’ as a ‘parkrun Practice’. Some of its staff were out on the course today and together with colleagues from THE WILSON PRACTICE in Alton – and Hogmoor-affiliated CHAWTON PARK SURGERY (also Alton) and BOUNDARIES SURGERY in Four Marks they hope to field a volunteer crew sometime in the spring, It’s great to see the value of exercise for physical and mental health and well-being being supported so directly by the NHS through this simple link-up. ‘Free at the point of use’ was the proud (and enduring) claim when the NHS was created in 1948; ‘free for everyone, forever’ is the parkrun mantra, so maybe it’s not so surprising that we should find common ground with our local surgeries.

Well done to everyone who took part or volunteered at Alice Holt today. If you are interested in volunteering, simply check out the website or make yourself known to the Volunteer Co-ordinator or Run Director next time you are at Alice Holt.

Rosie Lewis

 

358th Alice Holt parkrun

25th January 202

Hi to everyone at Alice Holt parkrun - the hilliest and friendliest parkrun I’ve done so far!  Actually I always come away from EVERY parkrun thinking “what a friendly bunch!”, however comradery going up that hill was strong and much appreciated!  That hill by the way, it might get a few mentions in this report!  And apologies now that your report is coming slightly late this week….

I must say I feel extremely lucky to have finally completed Alice Holt parkrun at all this week!  It’s been on my list for a while; my New Year’s resolutions are to continue “Alphabeteering” and volunteering – and I haven’t had an “A” so it seemed like a good one to do in January!  My parkrun mad cousin in the Midlands knows of Alice Holt and loves a good forest run, so you guys are known far and wide!  2 weeks ago I was rostered to do the run report and came down with a horrible 24 hour sickness bug & sent apologies to the volunteer crew at about 4am on the Saturday morning.  I was also gutted that I wasn’t going to make 6 PR’s in Jan since doing the double on NYD.  Nevermind, I begged the volunteer crew to have me back this week.  I sent photo’s of Gruffalo’s and forest trails on the family FB group – “I’m finally going to Alice Holt”.  Not only that, I’d finally managed to convince my ‘non-outdoorsy’ best mate to print her bar codes and join me for her first parkrun – ‘she’s going to love it like me’ I thought, and headed off from Surbiton to Godalming at 7.15am to pick her up.  Traffic on the A3 and a best mate in bed 10 mins after the allotted pickup time, I was stressed but determined not to miss the first timers briefing, so I left her in her pit and sped off following the Sat Nav from Godalming to Alice Holt.  2 wrong directions and the Sat Nav ADDING minute to my ETA at every turn, I was SO pleased to find a massive car park with plenty of spaces AND fully working barriers (that I had been warned about) and even managed to have time to use the excellent facilities before jogging over to find my fellow first timers – of which there were many!!

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As my heart rate settled down a bit from my journey, it started to pick up a bit with all the warnings of “this is a very big forest” and the importance of keeping children on a leash and dogs within arms length – or something like that, I was trying to concentrate on which way I needed to go at the cross roads each of the 3 times I was going to cross them.  I did not want to get lost!  I needn’t have worried though, as I’m usually a 33 minute runner so I had people around me at all times and wonderful volunteers at well thought out places – and a massive THANK YOU  to all those well positioned volunteers – you didn’t forget the individual battle that each and every one of us had with that hill and cheered us ALL on and congratulated us accordingly.  It was really noticed that you weren’t just pointing directions but encouraging as well.  I did also manage to record Stephen’s briefing although seem to have missed the names of the 50’s this week – I know Carmen McTernan did her 150 this week – AMAZING – well done!  How many of those are at Alice Holt I’d like to know!?  Seriously you regulars must have thighs of steel, I’m struggling to walk down the stairs today and I’ve done a bit of hill running recently!!!  Stephen I loved your briefing by the way, have just listened to the recording again on my phone – no beating around the bush: “Go on then, lets start the race….Run!”

I have to give a special mention to a few people that really helped me out.  Gus chatted to me briefly going up the hill the first time (as he passed by!).  “Do we have to do this more than once?” I asked, trying to remember the warnings from the briefing about how Dragon Hill ‘drag’s on and on’… “No just the once he replied”, then a few seconds later called over his shoulder “actually no, sorry, we do it again”.  I think I decided at that point that if I could do it once running, that would be my achievement for the day and I might have to walk it the second time, which I did with a few other’s, breathlessly saying a few words to each other (“big”, “steep”, “nearly there” kind of things).  Second mention goes to Ave and her dog Archie who recognised that I was having some sort of asthma attack (not on the hill!) and made me lean over and breathe correctly.  This hasn’t happened since I was about 12, so it came as a bit of a shock and was pretty terrifying.  Great words of advice from Ave “you can walk it to the end, you’re not going to win now”!  I took this advice on board and mainly walked and jogged a bit.  Third mention goes to Tim – he had finished in around 23 mins and had taken himself to the bottom of the final hill to give encouragement to his fellow runners – such a nice gesture!  When the asthma thing started happening again, I walked back to Tim pointing at my chest and trying to do some sort of thumbs up / down code that I was in difficulty.  Again luckily he recognised the horrible breathing sound as being asthma and explained the importance of staying calm while it passed!  Tim kindly walked me up the hill and I did a little jog to the finish and more encouragement and clapping from the team at the funnel.  That HILL!!!!

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I got my bar code scanned and noticed the very efficient token sorting set up in the pergola.  Like a well oiled machine, the volunteers at Alice Holt have really perfected their roles!

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I bumped into Gus and his wife Marike from Dulwich parkrun who kindly listened to me offload about my experience and gave me some good suggestions for flatter runs to continue with my Alphabet. I forgot to ask you guys if you did any parkrunning on your South African holiday!?  I’ll hopefully bump into you at Dulwich or Peckham Rye soon!  I looked for Ave to thank her but couldn’t find her – although did bump into her later among the Gruffalo’s and took on some more advice about inhalers and breathing.  Thank you again.  Also want to wish Douglas all the best for his half marathon today.  Douglas was the first person in a yellow high viz that I found on arrival and gave me some great tips about other local runs.  Thanks for doing the tokens this week, I was so happy to see you at the end of the funnel!

 

Stephen told me that there were 390 of us in total and thought that about 40 of us were newby’s – I hope you all enjoyed being at Alice Holt as much as I did – despite my difficulties, the scenery is just stunning and the fact that we run past various Gruffalo characters is just the icing on the cake for me!  I went back for a final lap of the Gruffalo trail with my friend on speaker phone telling me the story and what to say to the characters to prevent them from eating me.  Anyone that doesn’t know the story I would recommend reading so you know what to say to them in your head the next time you go past!  I will definitely be back, with my mate in tow!

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Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Alice Holt parkrun Results Page.

Rachel Davis

 

Run Report Jan 4th 2020

Alice Holt parkrun 355

4 January 2020

Another wonderful day at Alice Holt – with last week’s report writer, Kerrianne Cartwright Forbes’ wish to see many New Year’s Day parkrunners back on the start line well and truly granted. Numbers were down from the record- and token-busting 756 on Wednesday – but with 452 finishers, today looks like the fourth highest since Alice Holt records began. It seems as if there is a ‘carry-over effect’ (or should that be a ‘guilty-of-too-many-mince-pies effect’?) of the New Year, that has certainly ramped up over the years.

And just to share a few historic stats, since I was rummaging to find that one – the three largest turnouts for Alice Holt parkrun have all been on New Year’s Days – perhaps not surprisingly – although this year was a very big increase. 1st January 2019 saw 523 finishers and 2018, 463; so today’s turnout was a very close fourth place. I haven’t been forensic enough to check the weather reports, which I guess might have some impact, but I think it is a mark of the increased awareness of the phenomenon that is parkrun over the last three years that, in deeper history, the New Year’s Day totals were 295 (2017), 229 (2016), 141 (2015), and just 55 in 2014. There wasn’t a parkrun at Alice Holt on New Year’s Day 2013 – but there were 69 finishers on 29 December 2012 (Alice Holt parkrun number 7) – including many who were out today. The volunteer list (all 12 of them) also included some familiar names.

So, enough of the history – what about today?

Of our 452 parkrunners who ran, jogged and walked the course, there were 57 first timers here at Alice Holt and 53 turned in a PB (that’s more than 10% of us) – very impressive everyone! 30 different clubs were represented. Our first finisher today, Matt SAKER, covered the course in exactly 19 minutes, just a shade over the PB he posted in October last year. There is also a special mention for Robin PYPER, whose stats indicate he is an occasional at parkrun, with six very consistent runs at Alice Holt over the past two years, but who today achieved the 20:20! And keeping with the :20 theme, our first lady home was Philomel BENNETT, who clocked 22:20. Another very impressive time. But it’s not all about the time, it’s about being out there and doing it. There were six other ‘and 20 seconds’ times spread across the results list – well done all for hitting that virtual target - Andrew BEDWELL, Simon BARKER, Rachel ADAMS, Simon SHEPPHERD and our two Tailwalkers Lucy and Patrick TUITE who wrapped the whole thing up in one hour and twenty seconds  :)

And while we’re talking of volunteers, the 27 people who helped make today happen are:
Gabriella TILL • Kathy BROWN • Geoff BROWN • Shirley PERRETT • Dan DAVIES • Jasper HENDERSON • Carys DAVIES • Neil AMBROSE • Lisa BLAYDEN • Rupert HOLLOM • Rosie LEWIS • Joshua KEMP • Tom DELLAR • Linda TYLER • Patrick TUITE • Rachel ADAMS • Stephen LAVERY • Paul SMART • Lucy TUITE • Ben SHEPHERD • Libby MALLETT • Ben SMITH • Jake LOWRY • Geraldine MCLEOD • Kathleen DIGBY • Penny SCHNABEL and Ewan MCLEOD. Thank you all!

The numbers attending today were perhaps a little more than we’re used to, but the Core Team’s (and some of us ‘last minuters’!) big problem was the entrance barrier to the forest, which decided to call time on one unfortunate car passing under it – and which was promptly taken out of action. So for the second time in a week, Alice Holt parkrun started somewhat behind the other parkruns up and down the country – to ensure that everyone who was queuing to get through the one remaining barrier was able to get to the start. Thank you Run Director and team – and everyone for their patience. Personally I’m used to be overtaken by other parkrunners, but not usually when I’m still in my car and others are walking! Here’s hoping that numbers and car park tech get back to normal for next week.

There were just three milestones recorded today: Freya JENNINGS, in the 11 – 14 age group, joined the 10 club, having been putting in a couple of solid appearances every month since last summer; and Louisa BRISTOW and Rob REYNOLDS who both made their 50th parkrun today. Amazingly, although Rob was a first timer at Alice Holt and Louisa has done 47 of hers here, they have both also got parkrun miles overseas; Louisa in Cabinteely and Poolbeg, Dublin, and Rob, according to his recent run history, when he hasn’t been at Queen Elizabeth parkrun down the A3, Hogmoor, Southsea, South Manchester, Brockenhurst, Severn Bridge or Forest of Dean, was parkrunning in Mbabane. Yes, that’s right, Mbabane. He certainly gets about! Shamefully, I had to look it up. It’s the capital of Eswatani. Sadly, I had to look that up too. As I’m sure most of you know, Swaziland, in southern Africa, changed its name in 2018. So congratulations, Freya, Louisa and Rob, and thank you Louisa and Rob for making me stretch the power of Google.

A drier few days brought better conditions underfoot today than for some while and the crisp morning air with the promise of a bright day ahead saw everyone enjoying the best of the route. For me, it’s not a ‘proper parkrun’ unless I’m overtaken (often on Dragon Hill) by what I have always thought of in my head as a ‘pushing parent’, one of those impressively fit people who can not only run quite fast, but can do so even whilst pushing a child (sometimes two!) in a buggy. Today was indeed a ‘proper parkrun’, although I was overtaken long before Dragon Hill. However, I learned at Hogmoor on Wednesday, that these super-people (or possibly their precious passengers) can also be referred to as ‘Fast Babies’, as in ‘Fast Baby coming through...’ I like that.

I also really like the friendliness, the caring and the camaraderie that is part of the parkrun DNA. That the whole thing is free and is run by volunteers is awesome enough, but over the relatively small number of parkruns that I have done, I have overheard many encouraging and informative conversations between total strangers both as we line up for the start and en route.

The marshals, today as always, were all very encouraging. Everyone who makes parkrun things happen – from course set-up and breakdown, through the marshals, the funnel to timekeeping, finishing tokens, scanning and token sorting, and all of the admin and liaison that goes on behind the scenes (someone has to upload the scanned barcodes and stopwatch times and had to have had the foresight to order 700 finish tokens at some point) – does so because they feel it’s important: they want Alice Holt parkrun to thrive and they want to give a bit (sometimes a big bit) back. It’s simple, but without volunteers it wouldn’t happen. If you, too, believe in Alice Holt parkrun, and you want some of that warm, fuzzy feeling that Kerrianne mentioned last week – think about signing up to volunteer soon.   The team needs nearly 30 people every week to ensure we are all safe and happy out on the course and that we get our all-important times, delivered to our phone or inbox, sometimes before we’ve finished our coffee and got home.

Every volunteer is valued hugely, and every new volunteer is fully briefed and supported in doing whatever role they have chosen. The logistics don’t work for everyone and the incentive of free parking isn’t the reason people do it; it’s just a GOOD THING TO DO. Some younger people add it to their portfolio or consider it part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s community activity. There are some roles you can do and still run and there are people who volunteer when they are sidelined through illness or injury but still want to share in the parkrun buzz. The opportunities are endless – or 30 x 53 (1590) for 2020 alone. What are you waiting for?

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Alice Holt parkrun Results Page.

Rosie Lewis

 

354th Alice Holt parkrun run report

New Years Day at Alice Holt parkrun.

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It was a special day in the world of parkrun because on New Years Day two parkruns can be run, walked, skipped, jogged and people travel far and wide for the New Years Day Double (NYDD). I highly recommended it next year if you are considering it.

We had many visitors to the course this morning, the little crochet bear from Lancaster also turned up at Alice Holt for the double! 235 had already run at Hogmoor, and many others elsewhere including Guildford and Rushmoor.

The carpark, was overflowing (thank you to our extra car park volunteers for helping this run smoothly), people were queuing to get in, the ED of the day kindly allowed the event to start a few mins late to allow people to get to the start line in time. And boy what a packed start line it was!!

A record breaking 756 people turned out for what was for many the second parkrun of the day! We only have 700 finish tokens at Alice Holt, so 56 people had a special ‘Sharpie Finishing Tattoo’. The start line was packed and the finish funnel crazy, but very well executed by the core team, who managed to keep everything running smoothly to ensure people got there all important, position token! Everyone appeared to enjoy 5 beautiful kilometres around Alice Holt Forest, dodging puddles, climbing hills and spotting Gruffalos!

There were families, friends, buggies and dogs (on short leads of course) out in force blowing away the cobwebs and starting 2020 in the best way possible. It is always nice to see so many people with one common interest out there together.

73 clubs were represented this morning, with Farnham Runners  dominating the field with a whopping 34 runners on the start line. Haslemere Border AC were only just behind with a turn out of 27.  And John/Jonathon (other spellings included) was the most popular name turn out with a field of 23 Johns. Closely followed by 17 Dave’s/David’s and 13 Helen’s.

Of the massive 756 attendees, 36 ran the same time as someone else at either Hogmoor or Alice Holt, I was planning to list them here, but there were so many, people many nod off whilst reading this. Worth highlighting though Liss RC Runner Steve ARMSTRONG managed to run the exact same time at both Hogmoor and Alice Holt events! Now that’s what you call a NYDD! 34 people decided to choose New Years Day to join the parkrun family at Alice Holt, well done and we hope to see you again next week.

I was hoping to report that we had a finisher in 20:20 but alas that was not the case. Consider this a challenge for 2021 people!

Mile stones were reached: Sadie LAWRENCE and Theodore EASTON joined the 10 Club. Roland RUTT, Nick DIGBY, Helen COLLETT. Ceci MUSGRAVE, Phillip VACHER & Kathryn DREYER joined the 50 Club. Rupert HOLLOM the 250 Club. Adrian SUTTON & Phil COPSEY reached 100 runs , Elliot WEBBER 150, Mary FLANAGAN 200, Rupert HOLLOM 250. WELL DONE EVERYONE!

We are very grateful to the volunteers who made this event happen and an extended thank you to those that had already volunteered at other parkruns: Colin ADDISON, Philomel BENNETT, Lisa BLAYDEN, Marjory BLUER, Charles BRAKE, Kathy BROWN, Geoff BROWN, Kym BURGESS, Kerrieanne CARTWRIGHT FORBES, Helen CHAPMAN, Andy CLEGG, Elaine DAKIN, Ben DAKIN, Emma DAKIN, Carys DAVIES, Dan DAVIES, Oscar GUTIERREZ, Rupert HOLLOM, Jo JAMES, Fran LIGHT, Steven LUCKETT, Peter MALLETT, Luke MANHIRE, Claire MILLARD, Linda RADFORD, Alexander John RADFORD, Roger RAYMOND, Paul SMART, Ben SMITH, Mike SMITH, Craig TATE-GRIMES, Steve TILL, Linda TYLER, Ann VARNES, Sam WICKHAM, Carolyn WICKHAMNow as we move into 2020 we have 53 parkruns ahead of us, including a special treat, a rare parkrun on 29th Feb (I hear Alice Holt might have something up their sleeve for this event) and a ‘two-days in a row parkrun’ as Christmas day this year falls on a Friday!

Thank you to everyone for joining us in the last 12 months and we look forward to seeing many of you on Saturday for Alice Holt parkrun event 355!

And remember without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to hold our FREE weekly, timed event. Why not make it a New Years Resolution to join the team and volunteer every now and again. I promise it is as much fun as running and the warm fuzzy feeling you get from giving back gives you a warm glow lasting the whole weekend!

This week's results can be found at latest results

Kerrianne Cartwright Forbes
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Alice Holt parkrun - Facebook - Twitter - Flickr - Strava
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Your Core Team:- Craig - Andy - Geoff - Kathy - Dan - Lisa - Rupert - Charlie - Linda - Steve - Rachel
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parkrunner Discount Did you know if you show your athlete barcode in the Alice Holt cafe you can get a 10% discount? Why not stay after your run and have a chat with your fellow parkrunners or volunteers!
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Groovy wristbands/plastic barcodes Are you a frequent parkrunner, or does your barcode regularly fail to scan or you're having problems with your printer? If so, you should consider getting some wristbands or barcodes. Make our scanners lives easier and be the envy of all of your parkrunner chums!

 

“It’s the most Wonderful Time of the Year” (ding, dong)

REMINDERS - This is your most important List of the festive period :)

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** 21st Dec - it’s our fancy dress ‘Santa Special
** Christmas Day - no parkrun at Alice Holt, but other parkruns are on. Check this link for the details
https://www.parkrun.org.uk/special-events/
** 28th Dec - a regular parkrun but with a trick up our sleeve
The course might be a bit different......
* 1st January 2020 - extra parkrun at Alice Holt and it’s a 10.30am start.

Check your diary. Don’t miss the fun

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